How to drill into a concrete wall

How to drill into a concrete wall

Introduction

Suppose your home is made of cinderblock or concrete. In that case, you’ve probably discovered how difficult it can be to pound a nail into the concrete wall.

Suppose your artwork is too heavy to be suspended by a self-adhesive hook, and you’ve given up trying to hammer in a nail. In that case, the best alternative is to install a concrete screw using a concrete drill bit and a hammer drill.

For this purpose, this article will teach you how to drill into a concrete wall at home.

If you have a regular power drill, I advise you not to use it. It might break the poor machine as they don’t usually have hammer options like hammer drills have.

I had one with a hammer on it, and even that didn’t work; I needed to buy a hammer drill after some cursing.

Hammer drills are heavy-duty drills that have a special mode that hammers in the concrete drill bit with in-and-out motion while rotating the bit at the same time. Unless you plan on doing a lot of concrete work, renting a hammer action drill from a local rental store or a place like Home Depot is the cheapest solution.

Many tools can be rented for as short as one hour, which may be all you need for this project. Because these things can be loud and will stir up some dust, protective gear such as a dust mask, earplugs, and safety goggles is recommended.

Supplies needed for drilling into concrete

Concrete anchors and screws come in different sizes, and it’s best to use the right size for the job needed. Plastic expansion anchors will be fine for hanging artwork weighing 15 pounds or less.

However, you plan on hanging heavy artwork or mirrors. In that case, you will need a toggle bolt to support this additional weight.

It all depends on the object that is being attached to the wall. One screw with a plastic anchor might not hold much, but if there are 4-6, it can handle a lot more weight.

Along with the proper-sized screw, additional supplies include a hammer, handheld screwdriver, or a power drill and a carbide-tipped concrete drill bit.

These drill bits are usually available at the rental center or any hardware store. Be sure to select the bit size recommended for the size of anchor purchased.

Concrete drill bit

Instructions for installing a plastic wall anchor

Step 1: Carefully mark the location on the wall with a pencil where you want the screw to go. Next, mark the depth of the screw on the drill bit itself with a piece of masking tape. This will stop you from drilling more than is necessary.

If you have multiple holes of the same height, use something like level to mark the holes if they are for the shelf. This way, you don’t have round objects rolling off.

Sometimes, you might have to use your eyes to estimate it, as the roof and floor might need to be level if you’re using them to measure the attaching points.

Step 2: Use the hammer drill to drill a pilot hole into the concrete, stopping at the depth marked by your masking tape. If your anchor is long, you need to move the drill back and forth a bit to let some concrete dust off.

You can use a construction hoover or a wet/dry vacuum with an extra filter to get all the dust while you drill.

If you meet resistance while drilling, that’s the rebar in concrete. Your concrete drill bit can handle it if it’s high quality; no worries.

The important thing here is to push the hammer drill with a manageable amount of force. You just let it hammer while moving slowly, and it will go through the rebar briefly. Don’t bend the hammer drill or push hard; push straight gently.

The drill bit will be hot after drilling, so don’t touch it. After drilling, blow out the excess dust from the hole you’ve just created or use the vacuum to clean it.

A partner would be good here, as I don’t advise using a hammer drill with one hand. If there is rebar where you’re drilling, the drill bit might stop suddenly, and the drill itself will rotate; this might cause wrist injury. It’s always better to use it with two hands.

Step 3: Tap the plastic anchor into the wall using a hammer. Use only a little force; if the hole is the right size, it will go in without force. Carefully drive the screw into the anchor with a handheld screwdriver.

Be sure to leave enough of the screw head showing so that the artwork will have something to hang from.

Step 4: It’s time to clean up and return the tools if rented. A good customer returns the tools in the same condition as they were rented, so get the dust off them.

Warning

I see this mentioned infrequently, but you must be careful when drilling into walls. Electric wires are in the walls, and some might hold water pipes. I have drilled into both of them, and it’s always unnecessary extra bother.

Electric wires can be checked with a tool if you need help determining where yours are. Wall rebar can also be located with a tool, but that is a small problem.

Water pipes might be more complex; usually, they’re not inside walls, but some old buildings still give out surprises now and then.

Suppose you see a power outlet in the wall. In that case, it’s good to assume that electric wire comes to it horizontally or vertically.

It’s not always so, but it can be the basic assumption. A tool to check the wall for electric wire is essential in this case.

Conclusion

When it comes to attaching decorations and furniture to a concrete wall, there are a few things to keep in mind. While concrete can be a challenging material to work with, it is also incredibly strong and can handle a lot more weight than wood or drywall.

This makes it an ideal choice for heavy items like closets, cupboards, or bookshelves that need to be attached securely to a wall.

One important factor to consider when attaching items to a concrete wall is the size of the screw and anchor, or toggle bolt, that you use. The larger the screw and anchor, the more weight it can hold without pulling out.

This is because a larger screw will have more surface area to grip onto the concrete, making it more difficult to pull out under heavy loads.

It is always important to use the correct size of screw and anchor for the job at hand. However, if you are unsure about the weight of the item you are attaching or the strength of the concrete wall, it is better to err on the side of caution and use a larger screw and anchor than you think is necessary.

This will help to ensure that your item is securely attached and will not come loose or fall off the wall over time.

If you’re interested in another concrete drilling, here is an article about concrete coring. It’s for making larger holes in the concrete.